The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission’s submission to the five-year review of ACNC legislation has raised concerns in the sector, with fears the national regulator’s recommendations “will impose an ill-conceived restrictive agenda on all charities”.
The Australian Charities and Not‑for‑profits Commission Act 2012 and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Consequential and Transitional) Act 2012, which sets the framework for the charity regulator, are required to be reviewed after five years of operation.
Assistant treasurer Michael Sukkar announced the terms of reference for the review in December, and last Friday the ACNC publically released its submission.
It made 40 recommendations to be considered by the review panel, including to consider adding two objects to the ACNC Act: “to promote the effective use of the resources of not-for-profit entities” and “to enhance the accountability of not-for-profit entities to donors, beneficiaries and the public”.
This would add to the current three objects of the ACNC Act which are: to maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in the Australian not-for-profit sector; to support and sustain a robust, vibrant, independent and innovative Australian not-for-profit sector; and to promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the Australian not-for-profit sector.
These potential changes were met with concern from those within the sector, with the CEO of the Community Council for Australia, David Crosbie, labelling the proposed new objects as “regulatory overreach” at its worst.
“Any doubt about the intention of the new ACNC commissioner to impose an ill-conceived restrictive agenda on all charities can now be dispelled with the ACNC submission into their review. The proposed new objects alone should be a wake-up call to every charity in Australia,” Crosbie told Pro Bono News.
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